Starring: Will Ferrell, John C. Reilly, Mary Steenburgen , Richard Jenkins, Adam Scott

Director: Adam McKay

Screenplay: Will Ferrell, Adam McKay

Cinematography: Oliver Wood

Original Score: Jon Brion

Running Time: 98 Mins.

Call it ‘comedian syndrome’, that old love it or hate it scenario with comedians, Adam Sandler, Mike Myers, Jim Carrey. The fact is, if you don’t like one of their films your unlikely to like any of them but more of ten than not even if you DO love said comedian their films fall into one of two camps, a.) the epitome of their talents, their top films creating those iconic roles we all know, quote, and love or, b.) the ones where they coast, entertaining but thoroughly under-whelming, and not standing up to that ever important test in comedies, the repeat viewing.

So we come to Will Ferrell, Anchorman and Talladega Nights were his comedy gold, consistantly funny and producing many of the best comedy scenes in recent years. So it was with great anticipation I watched Step Brothers, reteaming the director Adam McKay with Ferrell for the third time following the aforementioned ‘comedy classics’. John C Reilly again joins Ferrell, following his hilarious turn in Talladega Nights, and once again they make a great comedy double act, creating many moments of hilarity out of the supposed plot.

But therein lies the problem, the plot isn’t such a plot as an (admittedly funny) one joke idea, Ferrell and Reilly are the titular Step Brothers, both 40 or there-abouts, and both still living with their respective mother and father, parents get together, siblings are forced to share a room, siblings hate each other initially and, well, you can guess the rest! Predictable plot in this type of comedy is not unusual, in fact its very usual, but to balance this out the jokes need to be not only very funny, but very clever, Step Brothers is not clever.

When Ferrell has sunk so low to try for laughs as having him eat dog shit (yes you read that right!), tyou really have to wonder if he’s lost his touch, tea bagging a drum kit is hilarious yes, BUT i really doubt whether watching it once again it will be anywhere near as funny. The boys squabble and fight, alot, its like Jackass without the added humour of knowing it’s real, and again while it’s funny to begin with a lot of the humour will be loat watching it again.

There is much here to laugh at though, it’s the smaller more subtle things that really stand out, and watching Reilly wear a Chewbacca mask while reading in bed is effortlessly funny, and a sleep walking scene is comedic genius, pillows in the oven indeed! But when something is funny these guys know it, so once again we have to endure it, chewbacca mask again, sleep walking…..again! Despite having very little to do, the parents, Steenbergen and Jenkins, do play their parts well, Jenkins in particular is brilliant when he is arguing with the brothers attempting to get them to grow up and take responsibilty. It always ends in the mildly amusing slap-stick violence but the put downs and the real killer comedy punches.

Adam Scott also provides other great moments, acting as the ‘villain’ of the piece as Ferrell’s successful younger brother, a Vanilla ice flashback, whilst simple, is inspired. These moments are few and far between, especially for a film that struggles to sustain interest for the whole of its already short running time.

VERDICT

Whilst more consistantly funny than Adam Sandler’s summer effort Zohan it just doesn’t make any kind of effort at an engaging plot. Too often resorting to slapstick humour that should be well above Ferrell, Adam McKay and producer Judd Apatow. When it’s funny its hilarious but when its not its down right some of Ferrell’s weakest, falling somewhere between Semi Pro and Kicking And Screaming, good Friday night and a beer entertainment, but I’ve a feeling better is on its way…

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